Martin Scorsese vs. Marvel Studios

After looking at some of my earlier blog posts, I realized that I haven’t given my opinion about the Halo games. Sure, I’ve posted reviews about these games, but I haven’t provided my take on them. So far, I’ve played the first three Halo games. This happened in 2020 and in 2021. I was able to play the Halo games, at least the first three, because I purchased an Xbox 360 console at a pawn shop. The model that I bought is the original white premium one. It’s the one that has become famous because of its high failure rate. Still, the console that I have hasn’t broken down yet. However, I ran into a problem soon after I bought it. The DVD drive had ceased to open. For some time, I didn’t know what to do. I’m not the kind of person who likes to return things after buying them. If something of mine stops working, I either fix it or, if it can’t be fixed, I sell it for parts. I certainly don’t just throw things away. Finding a solution to the problem on the internet wasn’t easy in this case. Finally, after some searching, I did find a helpful video on YouTube. It turned out that the gears of the DVD drive required cleaning because they had become dirty. I cleaned the gears by using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. As for the Halo games, I can say that I don’t regret playing them. Well, this is obvious because they’re great games. The first game, which was released in 2001, features entertaining combat and some impressive visuals, at least for its time. The story isn’t bad either. In fact, the story has become one of the most appealing aspects of the Halo franchise. Even novels have been published in order to grow the lore of the Halo world. The two sequels to Halo didn’t disappoint. They feature improved graphics, more character development, and the same entertaining combat. Halo 3, which was released in 2007, naturally has the best graphics, and it also features the best visuals. Some people consider it to be the best Halo game. After playing the first three Halo games, I’ve become somewhat of a fan of the Halo franchise. I do have Halo 4 in my collection, but I haven’t played it yet. Shooters aren’t my favorite genre in video games. The first shooter that I played after buying a console for the first time is Resident Evil 4. This happened about a decade ago or even more than a decade ago. Getting used to the gameplay of this game wasn’t easy for me, and this game is known for being somewhat hard. It took several tries for me before I cleared that first village of Ganados, and I did this by slowly luring them to the village gate and by throwing grenades at groups of them and not only by shooting them with a pistol and a shotgun. Ammunition in this game is scarce. When I was finally able to get past that village, my spirits certainly got raised. But even after that I continued to be careful because, as I’ve mentioned, Resident Evil 4 isn’t an easy game. I’m not the kind of player who plays fast, who runs around, and who charges into fights. I prefer to move slowly, to check everything around me, and to spend time on leveling up in order to have an easier time playing. Anyway, Resident Evil 4 is one of those games that makes you have respect for video games because it’s well made. The story, the gameplay, the music, and the designs are all terrific. Its “over-the-shoulder” third-person view is my favorite viewpoint in shooters. I wish that there were more such shooters.

Since I’m a follower of certain blogs, I am aware of Martin Scorsese’s criticism of superhero movies, particularly of films by Marvel Studios, at the end of 2019. Scorsese’s statement made for some amusing news and debates. Well, since it can be fun to argue about films, I think that I will provide my opinion as well. In general, I think that Scorsese is right. The most successful films in Hollywood now, the films that make the most money, can be compared to theme park rides, but I wouldn’t place the blame for this on Marvel or on superhero movies. Companies like the Walt Disney Company want to make as much money as possible. This is why they make films that are meant to appeal to as many people as possible. This is why they also screen their films in other countries, particularly in China, where there is a large capitalist market. These films can’t have much violence or nudity in order to be suitable for children. They have to contain some action and some spectacle. They have to contain at least a little humor. They usually feature appealing and famous movie stars like Dwayne Johnson. Most importantly, they have to be entertaining. These films also feature propaganda from the establishment, like most other films. Because these big budget films have to have all of these and other elements, they end up being formulaic and not very memorable. They are meant to entertain, to get people into cinemas, to make as much money as possible, and nothing more. This routine has actually existed for many decades already in the West, but, because it has become wearisome in the last decade or two, even major newspapers are now printing articles about it. It’s unlikely that people will see these big budget films more than once because they’re not very well made now and because there isn’t much substance to them. But I think that Marvel isn’t to blame for this. And superhero movies in general aren’t to blame for this. Formulaic big budget films have existed before Disney got into the habit of releasing several such films through its studios every year. I think that they existed even before the 1970s, when Steven Spielberg made the blockbuster Jaws (1975) and when George Lucas made the blockbuster Star Wars (1977). It’s just that they used to be a lot better and more memorable. I think that there’s nothing wrong with making entertaining, action-packed movies. There should be variety in cinema. Not every film has to be a drama film. Before big budget science-fiction movies, or big budget action movies, or big budget superhero movies, or even big budget animated movies became the norm in Hollywood, Hollywood studios made big budget Westerns, big budget historical epics, and big budget adventure films. Examples include King Kong (1933), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), The Sign of the Cross (1932), Duel in the Sun (1946), Unconquered (1947), The Robe (1953), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), The Ten Commandments (1956), Ben-Hur (1959), How the West Was Won (1962), Cleopatra (1963), or Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Since then, genres like the Western and the Historical Epic have lost their popularity. These films were also meant to entertain and to get as many people as possible into cinemas. Therefore, I think that the problem now isn’t with the fact that Western studios are trying to make as many big budget blockbusters or as many superhero movies as possible but with the fact that such films are worse and more formulaic than they used to be. Disney is simply the most obvious offender in this respect because of its size and success. Not only big budget blockbusters have been getting worse in the last decade or two. Drama films, comedy films, horror films, romantic films, and all the other films have been getting worse too. The reason why people pick on Marvel is because of Marvel’s popularity and success. Marvel follows the same formula, or at least a similar formula, as the other studios. What makes Marvel different is that it does this better. Films by Marvel Studios, with Kevin Feige at the head, end up being better than films by other studios. I think that this is the reason why Marvel has become successful. Marvel has even created its own cinematic universe that has mass appeal. Sure, Marvel films aren’t masterpieces of filmmaking, but almost all of them are still good, entertaining films, and this is the reason why people go to see them. Frankly, I’d rather see a Marvel film than another dull Hollywood drama film or another dull Hollywood horror film. I can bring up a film like Godzilla (2014) as an example. I went to see this film at a cinema right after it was released. Back then, I was younger and I didn’t know as much as I do now. I also paid attention to the opinions of film critics. Now I know that most Western critics are bought and paid for, and they praise films that they get pressured to praise. Anyway, because Godzilla got praised by many critics when it was released, I was somewhat excited to see it, although even then I was beginning to realize that almost all of the films that are being made are dull and have no replay value. Godzilla turned out to be a bad film, with characters that aren’t at all interesting, with a monster that rarely appears, with a bland music score, with poor direction, and with all the other problems that are characteristic of modern films. It became a memorable viewing experience for me because this film simply bored me. I couldn’t wait for it to end. But I stayed until the end of the film because I like to finish watching a film once I begin watching it. Looking back, I now realize why many (controlled) people praised this film while also criticizing and denigrating the 1998 Godzilla film, which is much better and more entertaining. The film from 1998 features criticism of the military, and the film from 2014 promotes the military. The main character, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is a navy lieutenant. In other words, the film from 2014 features propaganda that the establishment approves of, and this is why this bad film gets lionized by the bought and paid for film critics. Anyway, I now realize that studios in the West just can’t make good films anymore. Sure, they sometimes release fine or passable films. For example, I enjoyed seeing Free Birds (2013), Men in Black 3 (2012), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), Kick-Ass (2010), Horrible Bosses (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011), Pitch Perfect (2012), or Rise of the Guardians (2012). But such films are uncommon now, and great films are almost non-existent. This problem doesn’t apply only to the movie industry in the West. It applies to all of the other industries as well. Western people simply can’t make great things anymore. They make dull and bad-looking cars. They make bad music that isn’t memorable or enjoyable. They write dull, simple, and boring books. They make simple and bad-looking art. They build bland buildings that sometimes contain structural problems. They make food that often isn’t cooked well or food that is dull even if it’s supposed to be fancy. Western fashion trends are boring and not memorable. Do I have to go on? I can of course use words like “sucks” or “stinks” when it comes to some of the things that get made in the West now, but I prefer to be polite. Anyway, this is my take on the state of cinema in the West. In the last few years, I have rarely gone to see new films in theaters. Of course, one of the big reasons why this is so is because you now have to have a vaccine pass in order to get into a cinema. But the biggest reason is because I now realize that almost all of the films that get released aren’t worth my time because of their bad quality. I’m not in my late teens or early twenties anymore, and I would rather spend my time on doing something that I think is worthwhile. On a more positive note, I have finished watching the third and fourth seasons of Cobra Kai. I’ve already made a post in which I pointed out that I like this show, though I don’t think that it’s as good as some people claim. For me, it’s certainly not better than The Karate Kid (1984), which is one of the best teen movies of the 1980s. I don’t really like The Karate Kid Part II (1986) because I think that the new characters aren’t that interesting and because the setting (Okinawa) is boring, at least in this film. The Karate Kid Part III (1989), however, is more than a guilty pleasure for me. It’s a film that I really like. It’s silly but entertaining. It features some good fight scenes, just like the first film. The score by Bill Conti is used to good effect. And the new villain, played well by Thomas Ian Griffith, is absurd and memorable at the same time. Anyway, while Cobra Kai is certainly nothing special when it comes to filmmaking, it continues to be entertaining. I think that the acting of some of the actors in the main cast has improved. And Thomas Ian Griffith delivered the goods yet again in his role as Terry Silver. I think that except for William Zabka, Thomas Ian Griffith is the best actor in the cast. By the way, why has a third season of The Boys not been released yet? The Boys is another show that I enjoyed watching in 2019 and in 2020. Oh well. I guess that I’ll have to watch Lost in Space (2018) instead.